Monday, August 27, 2012

A short rant on indestructible books.

Recently I blogged about the very successful Fiction for Fiction campaign at SDSU.  One person asked in response:
"What was done with the bibles afterwards?"
The answer?
"They'll be recycled. Or turned into mulch. Something useful." -Eric Novotny, VP of  Atheist and Agnostic Programs  for Siouxland Freethinkers
The President of SAAFE also responded on Facebook with this statement:
"Thought about giving them back to the people who handed them out...either way I think recycling in some form is good because no one wanted them to begin with. They were literally forced into people's hands"
I think this is a wonderful idea.  It's an environmentally friendly way to get rid of an unwanted set of books.
The original commenter had this to say though (emphasis added):

"[Why not donate them to] Goodwill. They would accept them. And its a good side cause even though as a non believer I would.not read the book, someone who does could get it there. Or give them back to the original person... Making them into mulch is disrespectful, ignorant and non tolerant."
Forgive me while I rant for a moment.

First of all, it's a book. A book, like an idea, does not garner automatic respect. What do I do with an unwanted book? I recycle it, because that's the responsible thing to do. Mulching a bible has no more or less moral significance than recycling Ayn Rand, Dan Brown, or any other book.

Second, all of the Bibles here are Gideon testaments, which are available for free on more campuses and schools and locations than they are legally allowed to be on. There is no shortage of this book. Even at a Goodwill I'm not sure who would buy it.

Finally, isn't insinuating that the religious text is fiction already a much more egregious disrespect to the believer by this standard? There is a significant difference between tolerance and acceptance. I tolerate people believing that a book is the inerrant word of god, but I cannot accept their demands that I adhere to its tenants. When a book is used to prevent loving homosexual couples from getting married for example, tolerance is no longer the issue.

Why do I care so passionately about this?  Because when an 11 year old girl (reportedly with down syndrome) is threatened with being burned alive for ACCIDENTALLY burning a few PAGES from a holy book this discussion ceases to be an academic discussion. That is what is ignorant if anything here.  Every one of these holey books is available in full text online.  They cannot be destroyed by any simple act of mulching.  The ink and paper with which they are printed is just and paper.  It's not something worth burning a child over.

Rant over.  Deep breaths.

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